U.S. Powerless on North Korea


October 9, 2010, Seoul, South Korea: Kim Jong-Un, the youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il attends a parade to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Worker's Party of Korea. Many experts see Un's promotion as a sign that he is the heir apparent to lead the country when his father steps down.

Though North Korea’s defiant leader has fallen, the U.S. finds itself in an uneasy position: a near blackout of information from the inside of North Korea. Now that the mourning period for Kim Jong-il has begun—and will likely last weeks or months—Obama and much of the world seem to have only the option of waiting for the nation to make its next move. An administration official tells The Washington Post it was “scary how little” the U.S. knew. It took two days for South Korean and American intelligence just to learn of Kim's death.